Monday, December 31, 2012

Mission Log: 31 December 2012

Fare thee well 2012. 

I say this at the end of every year, but 2012 was an amazing year! It went by so quickly I don't even really know what happened! I lived with some of my dearest friends/family out at BYU-Idaho and graduated, I spent a week in an RV with all my crazy family, and then I came on a mission. It seems like I just blinked and it now it's the end. 

This year will be wonderful. The best. It will be better than any year before it. There really is no other option. When you've lived a life so full of joy, as I have, then you can do nothing but expect and plan for more joy. More intense, more abundant, more than ever before. Joy really does seem to be completely wrapped up in our choices, and for 2013 I am choosing to be happy!

I'm focusing the new year on purification. Maybe I'm too eager and naive, but I want to jump into the refiners fire with both feet and let all the impurities just burn off. I want to give up all my sins to know God. I want to give up all my desires both those I think wicked as well as those I think innocent and willingly accept my Heavenly Father's plan. I want to be a consecrated disciple of Jesus Christ. 

It sounds like a painful experience, but pain is funny in that it always seems to bring with it some measure of clarity that never existed before. I think back on some of the hardest experiences of my life. There have been times where I was certain I would die. I was certain the pain was too great, the change too demanding, and myself far too weak for the challenge. I was wrong. I have done many great things in my life. I am a growing, changing thing and I continue to grow and become something wonderful each day. I will forever. You should too. 

Every person we know and meet have infinite potential for greatness. Seek greatness. Fill your life with the greatest books, the greatest ideas, the greatest activities. Surround yourself with those you love. Seek to love others more fully. Expect joy in your life! 

I wish everyone the happiest 2013. 

All my love,

Mission Log: 26 December 2012

Mission President and Wife
Christmas Sombrero
Christmas Dinner
First, I want to thank everyone for the extreme kindness that has been shown to me over the last few weeks. Thank you for all the cards, all the candy, all the gifts. I am truly blessed to have so many caring and wonderful people in my life. Thank you, so much! 

If you're interested in what I was up to over the holiday it went a little something like this:

On Christmas eve we had a little Christmas party with missionaries in close areas. We had a white elephant exchange and everyone brought the most random things they found in their apartments. I have never seen so many broken, creepy, ceramic animals in one place and one time EVER! We also had the most random assortment of food I've ever seen. Everything from Costa Rican chicken and rice to gingerbread to peanut butter. It was great. I love all the men and women that I serve with in this mission. They work each day to be their very best selves. I am grateful for the examples they are to me. 

Christmas in the mission. It was so wonderful. It makes a difference to spend Christmas completely devoted  to serving others. It feels more right. I know that the entire purpose of the Savior's life is to bring joy to others. I love that I am able to participate in small ways to share that joy. 

We were only able to visit a couple families because our area is so large that driving time in-between homes takes up quite a bit of time. But with the people we did visit we "talked of Christ, we rejoiced in Christ, we preached of Christ." (2 Nephi 25:26) What better way to spend Christmas? We invited everyone to try to be more like Jesus. We invited everyone to think well about their new year resolutions and how they will try to better apply the doctrine of Christ. It was interesting to hear differing perspectives and plans. I have come to the conclusion that all people have an innate longing to be with God. 

I know that Christ lives. I know he is the Savior of the world. It is an honor to serve others daily and help them grow in their faith in Christ. 

I hope you simply had a wonderful Christmas time.

All my love,

Oh yeah, I went to the temple in New York.

You can see the sign in the back, super cool!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mission Log: 17 December 2012

As of yesterday I have been a missionary for 7 months. I’m not quite sure how I got from the MTC to 7 months on a mission, but here I am.

Things like this always feel differently than you expect them too. It’s like when you wake up on your birthday and expect to feel different, but you don’t. Growth is such a gradual thing, if it weren’t for the occasional sharp growing pain I wouldn’t even know it was happening. I do know that I’ve changed though. I know that I feel differently about things than I ever used to. I don’t know how to explain it. I think my happiness is less flighty than it was before.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I aim to change the world. It has been my life long dream and I fully expect to accomplish it. The other day while I was studying I found this quote in Preach My Gospel: “Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family” – President Ezra Taft Benson.

If it isn’t already apparent enough the world is crazy. We all have a responsibility to do something about it. Would you like to know my suggestion? Be more like Jesus.

Mission Log: 11 December 2012

Sorry this is a week late... but better late the never right?

New companion Sister Roper
New area
& New wetsuit given to me by a nice brazilian lady.
Surprise, surprise, another crazy week. 

I love teaching the gospel. I love meeting new people. I love listening to stories of faith. I love learning how I can better put my life in harmony with God's will. 

This is a beautiful time of year where people's thoughts are directed to the Savior. Learn of him, apply his teachings, strive to help and lift others. It's important, and it will bring you joy!

This week I learned how tricksy our minds can be. I have started paying closer attention to my thoughts, and it seemed every time I left them to themselves they would wander to the realms of negativity or pride. I'm learning that it is so important to have control of our thoughts. The way we think determines everything else we do. I want to always do everything I can to have positive, productive, and virtuous thoughts. I want my thoughts to lead me to better actions; and I want my actions to shape my character. I want to be more like Jesus every single day. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mission Log: 3 December 2012

So it's December now. Weird how fast that came up. It's been a great week. Crazy in every sense of the word, but great. We have been involved in so many Christmas programs already, and it's barely the first few days of December. We've also been finishing up our last bits of hurricane clean up.

This week we went back to Union Beach and were helping people part ways with every earthly possession they've ever had. It's a weird feeling to try a pry a wet, moldy, broken beyond repair yard doll out of the hands of a sobbing woman who has just lost everything. She can't have's poison to her, but all I want to do is let her bask in all the happy memories associated with it. So that was my Saturday. Stomping around in sewage and mud, gutting houses, trying to help throw away all the things that were being confused as salvageable. Natural disasters really do a number on people, and it breaks my heart. We even saw a house that was half way blown away. It's just so devastating. It's been over a month and it's still just a sorrowful sight.

This week I have learned the importance of being a good friend. Be the type of friend that invites others to be their best selves. Lovingly invite others to change their lives when it's needful. Be uplifting and positive. Choose to be happy. On my mission I have made some of my greatest friends. I am grateful for who I am becoming thanks to their encouragement. Everyone deserves such loving and helpful friends, so be one!